D Piano Girl Johanna

D Piano Girl Johanna in a shot from the “Stargaze” video.

D Piano Girl Johanna is best known for her soca piano instrumentals—which she continues to create. But fans of the classically trained pianist are revelling in her latest original composition, “Stargaze”, which is a mix of classical and contemporary with some trap music elements. The music video is unlike anything that has been done previously. It was filmed on location at the historic Chaguaramas Tracking Station.

Even though the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to her travelling plans, it hasn’t stopped D Piano Girl from creating beautiful music. Last year she streamed live performances from her home and ended 2020 on a high note with a virtual concert featuring some of her students.

In an interview with Kitcharee, Johanna reveals the inspiration behind “Stargaze” and explains why music is a necessity, especially during these troubling times.

“During this pandemic, the thought that keeps haunting me is that even in the midst of this darkness, we are all in this together. It is a global situation that has affected every single human being in one way or the other. I have friends stuck outside of Trinidad that haven’t been able to return home as yet. On one hand, it is scary that this is happening to all of us, and on the other hand we have been bonded together like never before, because we are all experiencing this. We may be in different countries and experiencing different scenarios, but we are fighting for the same thing—the preservation of human life and the hope for a brighter future,” she says.

“‘Stargaze’ symbolises our journey as we hope, as we long for change, as we evolve, while looking up to the same star-filled sky that we all lie under, knowing that we are never alone.”

To inspire and move

“Stargaze” first began as a melody in D Piano Girl’s mind. As a musician, she wants her music to move and inspire people. With an instrumental piece, there are no words to convey a message, so the message must be conveyed in the melody, the harmony and the way composition flows, she explains.

“I sit at the piano and work on expanding the melody and chord progressions that I hear in my mind, until it conveys the emotion that I want, until it feels right to me,” she adds. One of her passions is setting music to visual images of iconic spots in Trinidad. Fans of her music will remember the video of D Piano Girl performing her classical rendition of Kees’ “Savannah Grass” in the middle of the iconic Queen’s Park Savannah.

“For ‘Stargaze’, the concept for the music video was just as important to me as the music itself,” says Johanna. “‘Stargaze’ was filmed and edited by the incredibly talented videographer Antonio Achee at the historic Chaguaramas Tracking Station, in partnership with the Chaguaramas Development Authority. This abandoned radar base with its empty buildings might seem gloomy, but it is a perfect spot for stargazing on a clear night.”

In the music video for “Stargaze”, D Piano Girl is seen walking up the staircase at the tracking station which symbolises our journey to finding ourselves and our search for something greater than ourselves. She observes the glorious night sky, and returns as a changed person, with the realisation that we all exist within the same universe... and we have the power to bring about change and radiate light during dark times, explains Johanna.

Thanks to the music orchestration by Geiron Mang of Mang Productions, the mood of the song changes to reflect the transformation from darkness to light. During the video editing process, D Piano Girl sat with the videographer and spent close to an hour ensuring that a 15-second video sequence looked, felt, and conveyed exactly what she had envisioned.

“I believe it is the combination of the music and the visuals that makes ‘Stargaze’ what it is, and I am so grateful to the team that worked with me to accomplish this,” she says.

D Piano Girl Johanna has been playing the instrument since she was a child. The pandemic has reinforced her belief that music is not an extravagance but a necessity, especially in these uncertain and unpredictable times.

“For many, the pandemic has been a time of despair, uncertainty and loss. But music is a very powerful thing. It can uplift and inspire listeners, it can excite and calm them. It can give artists an outlet for expressing feelings. Music can turn a gloomy day into a hopeful one,” she says.

No matter what comes next, one thing is for sure, D Piano Girl Johanna will continue to create music that’s good for the soul.

“We must continue to create that which is within our hearts and minds—you never know who you are going to inspire!” she says.

“Stargaze” by D Piano Girl Johanna is available on iTunes and Spotify. You can also view the “Stargaze” music video on her YouTube channel—D Piano Girl Johanna.

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